Carefree, Arizona

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This article is about the Arizona, USA, town. For other uses, see Carefree (disambiguation).
Carefree, Arizona
Official seal of Carefree, Arizona
Motto: "The Best Small Town in Arizona"
Location in Maricopa County and the state of Arizona
Location in Maricopa County and the state of Arizona
Coordinates: 33°49′38″N 111°55′25″W / 33.82722°N 111.92361°W / 33.82722; -111.92361Coordinates: 33°49′38″N 111°55′25″W / 33.82722°N 111.92361°W / 33.82722; -111.92361
Country United States
State Arizona
County Maricopa
 • Mayor Edward C. Morgan
 • Total 8.9 sq mi (22.9 km2)
 • Land 8.9 sq mi (22.9 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 2,382 ft (726 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 3,363
 • Density 416.4/sq mi (161.8/km2)
Time zone MST (no DST) (UTC-7)
ZIP code 85377
Area code(s) 480
FIPS code 04-10180

Carefree is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population of the town is 3,363.[1]


Characterised as an upscale[2] residential area, Carefree was conceived in the mid-1950s by business partners K.T. Palmer and Tom Darlington as a master-planned community. Land sales commenced in 1955 and homebuilding followed shortly thereafter in 1958. Typical of Carefree's character are its street names—Tranquil Trail, Easy Street, Ho-and-Hum Roads and Long Rifle, Stagecoach and Bloody Basin—which reflect both its quiet, casual air as well as its Western heritage. The motto of Carefree is "Home of Cowboys and Caviar, Where the Old West Meets the New."[3]


The Carefree sundial, designed by architect Joe Wong and solar engineer John I. Yellott,[4] was erected in the Sundial Circle plaza in 1959 and is the "third largest sundial in the Western Hemisphere".[5] The sundial, which points to the North Star, is made from a steel frame and covered in anodized copper. It measures 90 feet (27 m) in diameter. The metal gnomon, the shadow-casting portion of the dial, stands 35 feet (11 m) above the plaza and extends 72 feet (22 m).[6]

The town has 15 restaurants, which makes for 1 restaurant for every 247 people, the highest per capita ratio in the Phoenix metropolitan area.[7]

Carefree was the long-time home of Southwestern Studios, originally built in 1968 as Fred Graham Studios by actor, stunt man, and Arizona Film Commissioner Fred Graham (actor). The sprawling 160-acre (0.65 km2) desert property adjacent to North Scottsdale featured three state-of-the-art soundstages, edit bays, 35mm screening room, make-up, production facilities, western street and back lot. In the early 1970s, Stage 1 of the studio was used for The New Dick Van Dyke Show starring Dick Van Dyke, Hope Lange, Fannie Flagg, and Marty Brill. Stage 1 also was used for the filming of one of Orson Welles' last films, The Other Side of the Wind, with John Huston, Oja Kodar, Susan Strasberg, Bob Random and Peter Bogdanovich.[8] The studio was used for the filming of Bob Hope's last feature film, Cancel My Reservation,[9] with Eva Marie Saint, Ralph Bellamy, and Forrest Tucker. Scenes were also shot at the studio for Michaelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point (back lot house explosion), Paul Newman in Pocket Money, Bill Cosby's feature debut, Man and Boy (western street), and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (western street). Pilots were shot at the studio for Hugh Downs' Foresome (Stage 2) and Jack Cassidy's McMasters of Sweetwater (Stage 3 and western street). The short feature Time River [10] was shot on Stages 2 and 3 and extensively on the back lot and western street sets. Later known as Carefree Studios, it was razed in 1999. The Scottsdale Road studio back lot and pristine desert property was developed into retail space and residential development.

Carefree is 17 miles (27 km) west of Bartlett Lake, in the Tonto National Forest.

Geography and climate[edit]

Carefree is located at 33°49′38″N 111°55′25″W / 33.82722°N 111.92361°W / 33.82722; -111.92361 (33.827198, -111.923483).[1] It is bordered by the city of Scottsdale to the south and the town of Cave Creek to the west. Carefree and Cave Creek are often thought of as a single community.[11] The two towns share the local landmark Black Mountain.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 8.9 square miles (23 km2), all of it land.

Carefree has a desert climate with hot summers and mild winters. There are 144 days annually with highs of at least 90 °F (32 °C), 68 days of at least 100 °F (38 °C), and six freezing nights per year.[12]

Climate data for Carefree, Arizona (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 63.8
Average low °F (°C) 41.9
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.81
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 4.6 4.6 4.7 2.3 .9 .7 4.3 4.8 3.6 3.1 2.9 3.8 40.3
Source: NOAA [12]


As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 2,927 people, 1,389 households, and 995 families residing in the town. The population density was 330.8 people per square mile (127.7/km²). There were 1,769 housing units at an average density of 200.0 per square mile (77.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.39% White, 0.24% Black or African American, 0.03% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 0.34% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.66% of the population.

There were 1,389 households out of which 14.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.5% were married couples living together, 3.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.3% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.44.

In the town the population was spread out with 12.7% under the age of 18, 2.0% from 18 to 24, 15.4% from 25 to 44, 40.5% from 45 to 64, and 29.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 55 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $88,702, and the median income for a family was $105,699. Males had a median income of $61,050 versus $38,750 for females. The per capita income for the town was $62,433. About 2.0% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.2% of those under the age of 18 and 3.2% of those 65 and older.

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  2. ^ Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine, Nov/Dec 2006
  3. ^ Carefree resorts
  4. ^ see Solar Today, Jan./Feb. 1987 p. 4, for Yellott's biography.
  5. ^ Carefree atrractions
  6. ^ N. America Sundials Society
  7. ^ Scottsdale AZ Real Estate
  8. ^ Brechner, K.C. (1986) Welles' Farewell, "The Other Side of the Wind", American Cinematographer, 67 (7), 34-38.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Carefree-Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce
  12. ^ a b "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]